What Do I Need? Running Gear Necessities
Not every exercise method you try needs any specific equipment to see to it. Sit-ups can be done without buying anything to make them happen, and something like tai chi can be done without additional supplies beyond instructions and your own body. Still, some methods do come with suggested, and potentially essential, equipment and supplies. It’s hard to lift weights, for instance, if there are no weights to lift. You could substitute dumbbells for household items of similar weights, but something needs to be there to provide the weight, even if it’s an nontraditional item. Jumping rope requires actually having a jump rope of sorts, and bicycling is obviously hard to do without a bicycle.
Running, believe it or not, can be one of the equipment-linked options! It might seem like it isn’t because the actual action of running doesn’t technically require anything beyond your own physical ability to accomplish. You don’t even need a lot of space to go through the motions since jogging in place is an option. But if you fully intend to push yourself and pursue running for something beyond hurrying to your television because your favorite show is coming on, there are some equipment and gear possibilities to make the experience more comfortable and effective, ones you could pick up at a store.
The first of these options involves your running shoes, which are simple things that have gotten plenty of publicity and analysis over the years—and for good reason! These are the one universal detail that any runner should have at their disposal since they’re the things that can help you have tread while you run, can cushion your steps as you go, and can make or break how much you enjoy your run. A mile ran in shoes that are too tight or not built for running could lead to some very real discomfort—and possible injuries since your main point of impact as you hit the ground isn’t being cared for in the manner that it should be. If you get nothing else for your run, make sure you have the right shoes!
Your choices in this category can again improve or lessen the level of comfort you have while you run. Wicking clothing, which are clothes that are built for the purpose of drawing moisture away from you, are definite companions to embrace for your run since you can expect to do a bit of sweating! Opt for fabrics that specifically wick moisture (like synthetic fabrics like polyester or natural fiber like merino wool) rather than cotton which could easily result in an uncomfortable experience.
This notion can apply to everything from the tank top you wear to the socks on your feet. In fact, you might even think of wearing a hat, but it’s a matter of preference. Just remember to dress in a way that will encourage your comfort as you run and protect your safety, particularly if you should choose to do something like run at night or in the rain.
Miscellaneous (But Important) Products for Runners
You might also want to add Body Glide to your list of running essentials since it’s designed to lessen some of the unpleasant aspects of running. Things like chafing and blisters are targeted problems for this product, and it can actually help to regulate the moisture coming from your body as sweat while it remains water resistant. For such a cheap price, it seems to be worth every penny!
Another important thing to have for your run is sunscreen—something that can be easily overlooked because it isn’t really running-specific or overly technical. But if you plan to be out running for a while, it’s reasonable to protect your skin from sun damage for the journey. Like Body Glide, sunscreen can be purchased for a small price, and the protection it can provide is well worth the amount of money you might pay for it. Definitely invest in this one!
You might also want to use a running belt for the sake of keeping track of things you’ll be carrying with you on the run—like perhaps your keys or phone. If you choose the right belt, you could also find that you have room for some of the other crucial details for a run, like your water. It’s important to keep hydrated as you run, so without a doubt water is an essential factor. But if you don’t have anywhere to put the water, things can get a bit more complex since it wouldn’t be reasonable to run back to your car every time you need a drink for longer distances. In addition, holding the water bottle as you run could throw off your form, which is inconvenient! This piece of gear then makes very real sense, and you can buy a water-holding belt for under $20. For that price, make sure to add one of these to your running plan for an easier, more prepared run.
One last detail that you might want to consider is a GPS watch. While this isn’t an essential item, keeping track of your trail and your physical details—like heart rate—as you go can help you to better analyze your run post-workout. Maybe even more importantly, it can help you keep tabs on yourself while you run so that you aren’t pushing yourself too far or in an unhealthy way. Again, this isn’t a non-negotiable piece of running equipment, and they’re more expensive than the running belt I mentioned. Still, for the most effective run, this is something you might at least want to put on your to-buy-in-the-future list.
From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, your choices in gear and supplies can impact the enjoyment of your run as well as your physical well-being during and after the exertion. Be sure you’re making smart choices in regard to those details!